Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Classification of Children with Disabilities: Part 1 Issues in the Classification of Children with Disabilities

Lani Florian, J. Hollenweger, R. J. Simeonsson, K. Wedell, S. Riddell, L. Terzi, A. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


This article is the first of a 2-part synthesis of an international seminar on the classification of children with disabilities. It synthesizes 6 papers that address broad questions relating to disability classification and categorization, cross-national comparisons on disability in education, the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), and Amartya Sen's capability approach. The focus of the article is the intentions, purposes, and future directions for disability classification in education. The authors argue that these advances offer researchers and policy-makers the opportunity to examine the relational nature of disability classification in any recalibration of statutory standards or educational policy reforms. Such developments are necessary to move beyond discrete categorical classification systems traditionally used in education that (a) do not recognize the complexity of human differences, (b) unnecessarily stigmatize children, and (c) do not always benefit the individuals who are classified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Special Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006



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